J o a n B e l m a r

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S t a t e m e n t

Ever since coming to the United States in 1999, I have been interested as an artist in exploring the properties of contemporary materials, such as plastic, acetate, vinyl, polycarbonate and Mylar etc.  I play with light, transparencies and the sculptural qualities of these elements in order to evoke the concepts that are important in my work:  Time, Change and Movement.

In my last series of paintings and drawings,  I explored the psychological and cultural divisions that affect the different ways we see the world.    I became drawn to maps, especially as I researched the Selknam people, who inhabited the southern region of my native Chile and who were exterminated in the last century.  In the maps, I encountered symbols, colors, drawings, grids, dots and lines. Accordingly, in my “Territories” series, I started with structures.  But then I let the organic qualities of the acrylics, gouache and ink mix and move spontaneously on the canvas or paper. Metaphorically, they are in search of freedom in a structured world.  I specifically wanted the crackling texture of my work to prompt us to think about how politics, modernization, and human greed affected the lives of the Selknam people to the point of annihilating them.

Also, I have developed a unique technique in my three-dimensional pieces.  They are maybe only an inch or two thick.  I use vinyl, acetate, wood and Mylar materials, to make layers within that internal space.  The transparencies and 3D effects have suited my purposes perfectly.  I want the viewer to perceive some things clearly and some things opaquely, reflecting the complexity and lack of clarity in the world around us.

Joan Belmar